Gonna Rain Tomorra

A Winds of Change Story

by Joanne Hunter, © 2000,2002

Setting: West Mountain, Montana
June 17, 1996, 6:57 A.M.

Ed had left for Burt's place thirty minutes ago. He'd wanted to see his old buddy again, and Burt never minded Ed's coming along.

Twenty minutes later he'd gotten there, and they'd talked. Now, to you and me their ‘talk’ might have seemed rather lacking. Mostly they exchanged comments about that problem down the street with the kid who'd thrown a rock near the grocery store a few months back. The talk went something like this:

Burt: “'ey Ed, remember that kid a while back?”
Ed: “Yup.”
Burt: “Bad thing, that.”
Ed: “Yup.”

Neither of them really cared for the rush of life that so many others did. This showed in their conversation.

A truck zoomed past the porch, presumably on its way to a bigger city.

Ed looked up. “'ey Burt, didja see that?”

“Ayuh. Sure did,” was the reply.

“Was goin' a bit fast,” observed Ed.

“Ayuh,” replied Burt.

This conversation was proceeding much like their usual conversations. Sitting on Burt's front porch, rocking back and forth. Noticing something different. Mentioning it. Acknowledging it's existence and moving on.

Then the clock in Burt's house chimed 7:00. And things began to happen. Both of them felt it — a sort of shivering sensation.

“'ey Ed, you feel that just now?” asked Burt.

“That shudder feelin?” asked Ed. “Yup.”

The speaking stopped and they continued to rock for a few seconds.

“Ain't usual, feelin's like that,” said Ed a moment later.

“Ayuh,” came the reply. “Know what it meant?”

“Nope,” responded Ed.

They continued rocking.

Burt suddenly realized that his arm was itching. Rather irritating, that, he thought. So he reached over to scratch at the area…

…and noticed the coarse gray fur.

This was something new for Burt. He'd never seen this before.

“'ey Ed. Take a look at this,” he said.

Ed glanced at Burt's arm, and his eyes widened. “That ain't usual.”

“Ayuh,” said Burt. “'ey Ed, you look green.”

Ed looked at his own arm. It looked rather odd — like there were lizard scales on it.

“Looks like lizard hide,” he responded.

“That ain't usual,” said Burt.

“Yup,” replied Ed.

They continued rocking.

Then a car pulled up nearby and a young man, obviously from the city, got out. He was clearly exasperated, seeing as though he appeared to be transforming into a dolphin-man. He looked around him, shook his head, then jumped back in his car, turned around and sped off in the direction he'd come.

It was a few seconds before either of the two spoke.

“Wonder what that feller wanted?” asked Ed.

“Prob'ly took a wrong turn by the highway,” said Burt. “I'm gonna go get me a beer. Want one?”

“Sure,” said Ed as Burt got up and headed inside.

Inside the house, Burt suddenly grasped his chest and groaned. All of a sudden, he'd started feeling uncomfortable there. The damned doc, he thought. He said that these would go away. Damned liar. After a moment or so, though, it cleared up and Burt proceeded to get the beers.

When he got back to the front porch, Ed was looking a bit more green. “'ey Ed, here's your beer.”

Ed accepted it. “What was that about?”

“Eh?” asked Burt.

“You was groanin while you was in there.”

“Oh,” said Burt. “The stomach troubles, I guess. Damned docs can't be trusted.”

“Yup. Just there to take your money,” Ed agreed.

“Ayuh,” Burt acknowledged.

Then Ed happened to notice something odd. “Burt, you gotta tail.”

Burt looked at him quizzically, then down towards his back. There was a foot-and-a-half—long tail there, rather like a coyote's tail. “Ayuh, guess so.”

“That ain't usual either,” Ed observed.

“Ayuh,” said Burt. “You lookin' a bit more green.”

Ed looked at himself as he opened his beer. Sure enough, there were more scales. “Yup. Looks like.”

And so it continued, both of them noticing occasional changes in eachother, with the same amount of comment on each.

Eventually, the Merger was completed. Where Ed sat there was now a sort of lizardmorph. Burt had become a humanoid coyote.

Ed looked up. “Burt, ya look like a coyote.”

Burt looked in the window, at his reflection, shrugging. “Ayuh. Guess so.” He turned to look at Ed. “Ed, ya look like some kinda…” — he hunted for the word — “lizz-ard.” He pronounced it as though it was a word he wasn't very well aquainted with.

Ed looked in a window, observing his reflection. “Yup. Looks like.”

They continued rocking.

The coyote-man, Burt, sitting in a rocking chair on his front porch holding a cold beer, looked up at the sky. “Looks like it's gonna rain tomorra.”

His companion, the new lizard-man Ed, also rocking back and forth with his beer, looked up as well. “Yup. Looks like.”

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